Jamaica Plain’s Centre/South Main Streets (CSMS), a business promotion organization, has a new executive director, Andrew Zarro, which further stabilizes the organization after a tumultuous period.
CSMS is rebounding from late 2012 and the beginning of this year, when the organization saw a change of leadership and had its nonprofit status revoked. CSMS eventually regained its nonprofit status and Katie Reed was installed as an interim executive director.
Zarro, who previously headed another JP nonprofit, the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, said he followed closely what was happening to CSMS during that period.
“When I saw [the job opening], I knew I had to go for it,” said Zarro, whose first day was Nov. 18. “I’m so excited to be here.”
Zarro is a former JP resident who now lives in the South End. But, he said, he is actively looking to move back to the neighborhood.
Zarro studied community development and applied economics at the University of Vermont before obtaining his master’s degree at Northeastern University. He said that while at Vermont, he studied economic and small business development and revitalizing downtown areas of rural towns. Zarro said that when cities revitalize their downtowns, they often use models that have been used in those rural towns.
“It’s something I’m very passionate about,” he said.
Zarro said that CSMS has “unique capital,” including its First Thursday events, which are monthly art viewing and shopping events organized to boost business along the corridor. But, he said, First Thursday has been running largely by itself the past couple of years. Zarro said he wants to revamp the event and make it “better than ever.”
Zarro said his goal is to work directly with businesses and find out what they need from the CSMS and the City, such as money to fix a sign or a bus stop relocated.
“I want to be the liaison between them and the City,” he said.
Zarro said he is still introducing himself to every one and wants to make sure people know that CSMS is back and is on a solid footing.
“I have every intention in having [CSMS] be the best Main Street organization in Boston,” he said. “We have it all.”
The CSMS office will continue to be based at 670 Centre St. For more information, see jpcentresouthmainstreets.com or call 617-971-8078.